Categories
South Korea Adoption Update

Korea Phase One: Complete

We are happy to report that our home study is complete, our initial immigration application has been submitted, and our first round of paperwork is on it’s way to South Korea! These last few months have been busy with social worker visits and paperwork, but we are finally in the stage where we are waiting for a referral. Due to COVID-19, the process is moving more slowly, but it’s a relief to finally have completed these major milestones.

Home Study: Complete

If you are familiar with adoption at all, you probably have heard the term “home study.” A home study is a report written by a social worker that verifies our home is suitable for adopting another child. This seems simple enough, but depending on the type of adoption can be extremely complex and time consuming. For Korea, we needed background checks, fingerprinting, psychological evaluations, adoption training, multiple social worker visits to our home, interviews, personal profiles, and more. We have been working on all this since last fall – Korea requires a bit more from the home study than Nigeria did, and we had some delays due to COVID, so it is nice to have complete.

Pre-Dossier Paperwork: Complete

The “dossier” required in international adoptions varies greatly from country to country, and thankfully, Korea is quite simple compared to Nigeria. For Olivia’s adoption, we had a huge stack of paperwork that we had to send over initially and keep updated throughout the process. For Korea, the list was much shorter and did not require nearly as much time. This paperwork, including the home study, has been sent to Korea to assist them in matching us with a child that will be a good fit for our family. We have been told to expect a wait time of 5-8 months for a referral and an additional year before we travel – this is significantly longer than the timeframe estimate prior to COVID. Despite our joy in submitting this paperwork, this news of the slow down was definitely a downer for us.

I-600A: Submitted

The I-600A is an application through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that allows for “advanced processing” of our adoption. This simply means that they can start the process of verifying our eligibility to adopt, reviewing our home study, more background checks, fingerprinting, and starting a file for us rather than waiting to do everything when our child is identified and ready to be adopted. We will file the I-600 near the end of the process, which actually will give approval from USCIS for us to adopt our specific child. The I-600A/I-600 part of the process is the same as it was for Nigeria, so it brought back memories of Olivia’s adoption. This initial approval is likely about 90 days out, delayed a bit again due to COVID.

Prayer Requests

While we are extremely excited to get through these steps in the process, the news of delays is disheartening to us. We strongly desire to bring home our second child soon, so we would love prayer for patience and peace in the Lord’s timing. You would think we would have learned patience over the last few years! 🙂

Please also pray that our paperwork would find favor in Korea and the wait would be shorter than we think, and that the wait between accepting a referral and traveling would be shorter than expected as well.

Thank you all so much for your love and support. We cannot express how much it means to us.

Markus, Sarah, & Olivia

Categories
Uncategorized

A Long Overdo Update

We have now been back in Minnesota for about a week and a half! Sarah and Olivia’s flight back home went really well. Their first flight left Lagos around 11 PM and was overnight, and they actually got about 5 hours of sleep! The homecoming and greeting of family and friends at the airport was full of deep joy – lots of happy tears!

It has been a busy time adjusting to our new life and finding our new normal as a family of three finally all together. Overall Olivia has been adjusting really well to her new life in Minnesota, even to the cold. The true test will be this next week when the high temperature is -5F. Olivia loves sledding and playing in the snow! She still enjoys going to coffee but she has replaced her vanilla cake with hot chocolate.

We all have enjoyed spending time with family and celebrating birthdays we have missed since we left in May. Enjoy some pictures of the fun we’ve been having – can’t wait to meet all our family and friends!

Thanks again for all your prayers! We cannot say enough how overwhelmed we are with your love and support. The Lord has shown his grace through you, and for this we are and will be eternally grateful.

Markus, Sarah, and Olivia

Categories
Uncategorized

Coming HOME!

It is with great joy that we can finally say that Sarah and Olivia are coming home! They will pick up the visa early next week and head to the airport.

We are overwhelmed with thankfulness to the Lord as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving! We are so thankful to all our family, church family, and friends for their love, prayers, and support. It may be cliche to say, “we couldn’t have done this without you,” but that does not make it untrue. Thank you, with all that we have.

We ask for continued prayer as Sarah and Olivia travel. It is a long flight, especially for a three year old. Pray for smooth, peaceful, and safe travels, from leaving for the airport until they finally get home. Pray for a smooth transition into our lives back home as a family of three.

We have shared this with various people over the course of this process, but our “theme song” for this whole adventure has become “The Lord is My Salvation” by Keith and Kristyn Getty.  As you read the lyrics and listen to it, I think you will understand why. Based on Psalm 27, we sing it today with joy knowing that these words testify to the loving faithfulness of our God. To God alone be all glory, honor, and praise!

The Lord is My Salvation, Keith and Kristyn Getty.

The grace of God has reached for me
And pulled me from the raging sea
And I am safe on this solid ground
The Lord is my salvation

I will not fear when darkness falls
His strength will help me scale these walls
I’ll see the dawn of the rising sun
The Lord is my salvation

Who is like the Lord our God?
Strong to save, faithful in love
My debt is paid and the victory won
The Lord is my salvation

My hope is hidden in the Lord
He flowers each promise of His Word
When winter fades I know spring will come
The Lord is my salvation

In times of waiting, times of need
When I know loss, when I am weak
I know His grace will renew these days
The Lord is my salvation

And when I reach my final day
He will not leave me in the grave
But I will rise,
He will call me home
The Lord is my salvation

Glory be to God the Father
Glory be to God the Son
Glory be to God the Spirit
The Lord is our salvation

Categories
Uncategorized

VISA APPROVED!

We are so happy to be able to let you know that Olivia’s U.S. visa is approved! They are hoping it will be printed by Monday. Please pray for a quick printing, as it can take up to two weeks. We will update you all with travel information as we get closer.

We will have a group to welcome Olivia and Sarah home at the airport when they get in. We will plan on coordinating this through the Facebook group, but if you are not in the group and want to be kept informed about this please let us know.

Thanks so much for praying! We are praising the Lord for his grace to our family, and we will be extra thankful this Thanksgiving!

Markus, Sarah, & Olivia

Categories
Uncategorized

Visa Appointment Tomorrow

I wanted to reach out on behalf of Sarah and Olivia for prayer tonight as they head to the visa appointment tomorrow (in the very early morning to us in the states). This is the final step in the process – as soon as the visa is approved and printed, Sarah and Olivia can come home.

Please pray for peace for both Sarah and Olivia as they head to the consulate. Pray for favor with the consulate and that all the paperwork is clear and for the quick approval of Olivia’s visa. Please pray also that they are able to print the visa tomorrow as well so they can come home on the next available flight. We are resting in the truth that the Lord is good and he works everything for the good of his people.

We are so thankful for your prayers and support. The Lord has been gracious beyond measure to us to give us such loving family and friends, and we have never realized that more that in the last seven months. Praying that the next post is the news we’ve been waiting to post since we first traveled to Nigeria!

Markus

Categories
Uncategorized

Visa Appointment is Scheduled!

We are so happy to be able to let you all know that Olivia’s visa appointment is scheduled for Wednesday, November 20! If all goes well, we should be able to get her visa printed within a few days following the appointment, so Sarah and Olivia will be able to be home for Thanksgiving!

We are praying prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord for his faithfulness throughout the process. We are also praying for a smooth appointment on Wednesday and for no last minute problems or hiccups. We have rescheduled Sarah & Olivia’s flight back to Lagos from Kigali, Rwanda for Monday so they can get in and have an extra day in case there are any flight issues. We would appreciate continued prayer for all the details to work out smoothly over the next couple weeks. We cannot wait for Olivia’s visa to finally be in hand and for Sarah and Olivia to be on a plane home!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Markus, Sarah, & Olivia

Categories
Uncategorized

Brief Update

We wanted to give you another update as to where we are at in the process of getting Sarah & Olivia home. We still have received no new answers from the U.S. Consulate in Lagos – they do not have any sort of time frame for when Olivia’s case will be processed. We continue to pursue various contacts to help speed up the process and have had some encouraging conversations, but nothing concrete yet.

Please pray for our leaders and those in power. Pray that they see the urgency for the families that are trapped in the bureaucracy and pray that they would move swiftly so all the families waiting, including ours, can be reunited back in the United States. This has been our prayer – not only that Olivia’s visa will be approved, but the Lord will use it to clean up the process so that other families can be reunited and more children can have forever families.

We also wanted everyone to know that Markus will be leaving for Lagos this Friday, October 4 for a roughly 10-day visit. We are extremely thankful to His Kids Adoption Ministry for providing a grant that made this possible. Pray that the family time would be a blessing to everyone and pray for peace for Olivia as she gets to see her daddy for a short time. Pray that we can enjoy this time as a family and not worry about what the future may hold. We would love if we get some encouraging news before Markus has to head back – this would make the goodbye a lot easier! We would be fine with all coming home together too. 🙂

Thank you all for your prayers, kind words, and encouragements. Know that no matter how small they may seem to you, they mean the world to us and make a huge difference. The Lord has richly blessed us with our family, friends, and our loving church – grace beyond measure. We are extremely grateful for you all!

Markus, Sarah, & Olivia

Categories
Uncategorized

Closer Than Ever; Still Waiting

It’s been quite awhile since we updated the blog, and a lot has happened since we last posted an update in June. Here is the brief version of what has happened in the last two months and and outline of what comes next.

In June we wrote about completing the Nigerian adoption process and just having the U.S. visa and immigration process remaining. Unfortunately, we were unable to get an appointment closer than two months out, and so we waited to see if there would be an earlier opening. By mid July, I (Markus) was running out of time off and we had not had any success in scheduling an appointment. As a result, we decided to take our paperwork and start the process back in the United States. I left Sarah and Olivia in Lagos and returned home to work and to submit the completed paperwork by mail.

Since then, USCIS has approved Olivia’s I-600 petition, which is a huge step towards bringing her home. Her case is now in route back to the U.S. Consulate in Lagos and we are awaiting them to invite her in for the visa interview. We do not know how long this process will take – some cases have gone quickly and others have waited several months. We are praying for favor with the Consulate so that Sarah and Olivia can come home and we can be reunited as a family.

Please join us in prayer. Pray for our government leaders, for the Consulate staff, and for everyone else involved in our case. We are grateful for all the people along the process that make adoption possible, and it is our prayer that these officials are able to continue to streamline the process so that our family and future adoptive families have a few less hurdles to bringing these kids into a loving home.

We are so thankful to you all for your love, your encouragement, and especially your prayers. We are truly blessed beyond measure to be surrounded by such love and care. Please know that every kind word and prayer is felt and greatly appreciated. We are so excited to bring Olivia home to such love and support.

This time of separation for us as a family is difficult, so we appreciate continued prayers that we might be reunited very soon. We are trusting in our Lord who has shown his love, care, and providential hand throughout the process, and we are confident that everything he has brought us through and will bring us through is for our ultimate good and his glory. As difficult as it has been, we see our Heavenly Father’s faithfulness day after day, and the three of us could not be in better hands.

For His Glory,

Markus, Sarah, & Olivia Yager

Categories
Uncategorized

Nigerian Process Complete, Prayers for U.S. Process

We wanted to write a brief post and let all of you following the blog know that we have completed all the paperwork, meetings, court dates, and received the necessary documents to move on the the U.S. Consulate!

We are so grateful for the staff at Morgan Hill Children’s Foundation for the hard work and dedication they put in to make sure adoptions in Nigeria are safe, quick, efficient, and above board. They have tirelessly checked and rechecked to make sure we have the documentation needed to bring Olivia home.

Now it’s time to take all that hard work to the U.S. Consulate and (hopefully quickly) get Olivia’s immigrant visa approved. We hit our first snag in the U.S. process – for some reason the online appointment scheduling website is not accepting her case number, so we have not been able to set up the first appointment yet. Please pray that this gets resolved quickly and we can set up the appointment as soon as possible.

After the initial appointment, we will need to have a medical exam done and get some photographs taken for the visa. We then wait to hear if our case is approved and we can go in for the interview or if we will need to wait longer. We are praying that these several steps we have left go quickly. Pray that the glitch with her case number is resolved quickly and that her case is reviewed and approved in record time.

We continue to trust the Sovereign One who is faithful even when we are not. It is our prayer that we all can come home together before Markus has to return to work – please join us in praying for this.

For His Glory,

Markus, Sarah, & Olivia

Categories
Uncategorized

Meet the Yagers!

We are so happy to announce that we are officially a family! We had court finalization today in Lagos, Nigeria and they approved the adoption. This means that, as far as Nigeria is concerned, Olivia Angel Yager is in every way our daughter. Happy Yager Day!

We now have three documents we need in order to schedule our first appointment at the U.S. Consulate: the official court order paperwork, her birth certificate, and then her passport. We need the birth certificate to get the passport, so pray all of these documents come in quickly. Pray also for favor in the immigration process – it can go relatively quickly or it can take many months. It is our prayer to have the passport next week and then schedule the soonest available appointment. Thanks so much for your prayers thus far – we have a great and merciful God, and we continue to see Him more clearly as the adoption unfolds. Pray for his mercy and grace to continue to be poured out on our family.